Going to Cappadocia, Turkey is an experience of a lifetime. This region is composed of rock formations and valleys and is one of the most spectacular in the world. Within these rock formations, embedded homes, chapels, tombs, temples, and even subterranean cities complete this spectacular scenery.
The entire Cappadocia covers the area between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp, and Avanos, the sites of Karain, Karlık, Yeşilöz, Soğanlı and the subterranean cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. It spans 100 square miles with over 200 underground villages and tunnel towns. All of them complete with hidden passages and hidden rooms.
So much history has happened within these rocks, valleys, and underground sites. Empires have risen and fallen in this place that still stands today. The Hittites, Persians, Alexander the Great, Rome, The Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Turkey can pride themselves on having governed this majestic region of Central Anatolia.
Home for fleeing Christians
Early inhabitants of the region of Cappadocia found themselves in the middle of political turmoil. Hence, the need to build underground sites to protect themselves. The Hittites inhabited the area around 1800 to 1200 B.C. Then they found themselves being in the middle of two rival empires - the Greeks and Persians first and then the Byzantine Greeks and a long list of rivals.
It is well-known that most of the levels were dug out by the Christians, who were fleeing from Roman persecution and later from the Arab invasion.
Christians established monastic communities there. Monks created Byzantine frescoed paintings in cave chapels. These have been dated back to the 7th Century and can be still seen today.